Mayor 2012: Brady wins first labor union endorsement

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Just last month, a group of labor leaders - including IBEW 48's Joe Esmonde - held a press conference to announce that they would not be supporting any of the announced candidates for mayor.

Yesterday, IBEW Local 48 reversed course, announcing their endorsement of Eileen Brady for Mayor. From the statement:

"We are thrilled to support Eileen Brady for Mayor", said Clif Davis, IBEW Local 48 Business Manager. "The next Mayor of Portland needs to be a job creator. As a co-founder of New Seasons Market, Eileen knows what it's like to take a risk and start a business. She successfully helped build a thriving Portland company that provides over 2,200 jobs with benefits. Eileen also has vital experience expanding access to health care as a leader on the Oregon Health Fund Board. Portland needs Eileen's deep management and job creation experience in the Mayor's office."

The endorsement comes two months after a coalition of labor unions held a debate with all three major candidates. As the Mercury notes, it's also the first labor endorsement of the race:

IBEW is the first union to weigh in on the mayor's race, picking Brady over former city commissioner Charlie Hales and state Representative Jefferson Smith, the presumptive labor darling heading into the race.

Since the beginning of the campaign, there have been whispers (occasionally breaking out into blog comments) that because New Seasons Market is a non-union workplace, Brady - who set up the original HR program there as a company investor and co-founder - must be anti-union. So this endorsement is a big deal for Brady, as an initial validation for pro-union voters.

In a note to supporters, Brady wrote:

We are building a diverse coalition of Portlanders who are truly committed to growing our local economy with family wage jobs. It's a coalition that includes business leaders AND the working men and women of organized labor. I am so honored to have their support.

I'll leave it to others to analyze the political implications, but it's nothing but good news for Eileen Brady's campaign.

    • (Show?)

      yes, Parker, all those electrician jobs putting up a bridge.

      • (Show?)

        CRC includes light rail which certainly has a large electrical component. Not to mention road lighting. Tolling will involve multiple electrical technologies if CRC goes forward.

        IBEW 48 is one of the building trades, whose unions frequently work together politically. The building trades collectively are the drivers of labor support for the CRC in federated labor bodies at state and regional levels.

    • (Show?)

      The grousing, half truths and nastiness up and down this comment thread by paid staff and operatives of Eileen Brady's opponents is pretty shameless and embarassing. The positive campaign commitments made by the other candidates is clearly off.

      Unlike the other candidates, anyone who wants to know Eileen Brady's position on the CRC - the position generally shared by Governor Kitzahaber and Senator Merkley - can simply read it on her website.

      Eileen remains the only candidate to call for congestion tolling, which this Atlantic article shows is the only real solution to reduce traffic. New safe bridge or old unsafe bridge, cards will continue pouring over it without this type of solution.

      Anyone who wants to try and figure out the other candidates' positions can read this article.

      Intersted parties should note that the only candidate who's position remained consistent with the Portland Tribune article and the AFL-CIO debate was Eileen Brady.

      Disclosure: I work for the Eileen Brady for Mayor campaign.

      • (Show?)

        I wonder who and what's being referred to, here. Half truths and nastiness? Shameless and embarrassing? Hales' mgr comments only on Kari's disclaimer, so that leaves her out. Nothing from Dycus at all. I don't think Evan is an operative (maybe I'm wrong), but he sounds like someone who has spent a LOT of time on the CRC issue and has many salient questions.

        So who are the paid staff? Is a mere supporter also a more malignant-sounding "operative?" These seem like petty distinctions, but SOMEBODY here has been called out by the Brady campaign for apparently breaking the gentleperson's agreement on comity--meaning I guess they view the gloves are off?--and it seems a pretty weighty charge like that should come with some specifics. Is it me for taking issue with the all-positive spin on supporting CRC? I'll mea up some culpas if that's the case.

        I did go back and reread the PBA questionnaire on CRC and her first response to supporting the Final Enviro Impact draft was the one-word "Yes." I heard lots of personal enthusiasm for it at a labor forum, and a labor union who made clear CRC was their top priority, has endorsed. Two of those are a fact, one's my observation. I hope that's not too shameless to detail.

        You're going to defend the candidate's position and declare it consistent, and that's fine. And we can discuss that topic, yes fine also? I hope so.

        I'm kind of more interested anyway in who has broken the glass on the mayoral niceness, and how. Maybe some fire breathing radicals need to be constrained. Let's work together and bring them to the people's justice!...all you need to do is fill in who, and the pain of community-based peaceful moral-political judgement can be commenced. I have extra torches if someone forgot theirs.

        • (Show?)

          Well, Nels Johnson is on the Hales staff. Parker Butterworth was the finance director previously. His dad remains the general consultant for Hales.

          I'm not particularly interested in the meta-discussion. But it's pretty clear that Team Hales has decided take the gloves off. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with that (as you know, Mark), but some voters think it's important.

          • (Show?)

            Really? Those two posts are the gloves coming off? Wow. I do think there's something wrong with it...but that's really not it.

            • (Show?)

              Reasonable people can disagree about the metaphors.

              In any case, I was just pointing out that you seemed to have missed two people that are closely associated with one of the campaigns.

      • (Show?)

        If Eileen Brady calls for congestion tolling now, and calls off her support for the CRC mega-project until the planning is redone with a focus including health and ecological consequences throughout the Portland traffic system, looking at the problems of relocating congestion deeper into Portland and residential Portland, I will gladly consider voting for her. Not until then.

        CRC is unsafe from a public health perspective in the pollution consequences of shifting the congestion south into residential areas of the Portland.

  • (Show?)

    Nowhere does it say IBEW would not be endorsing for mayor; in fact the article cites multiple hedges along the lines of "we're still thinking." that's not a reversal of course; it's a completion of the process.

    The article also notes CRC is their highest priority, and since Brady appears to be the only candidate to say she would favor building it as proposed, it seems like a fairly obvious choice. I would hardly say solidifying your position as top CRC cheerleader offers nothing but good things for a mayoral campaign, however.

  • (Show?)

    ...and I should say the sudden lack of any reference to CRC by either party, suggests they understand it might not all be positive, as well.

  • (Show?)

    Here it is: Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

    (That's the problem with scheduling blog posts. I wrote this one a few hours ago and scheduled it. Can't pre-schedule comments, though!)

  • (Show?)

    And... everyone who works for campaigns should be making their disclaimers.

    But yes, Brady won the endorsement, by media accounts because she's supportive of the costly, risky CRC highway mega-project (although to some audiences Brady says she wants to "skinny it down," I have yet to hear her commit to any specific skinnying.)

    I've done some non-profit work on the CRC, but speak only for myself.

    • (Show?)


      Perhaps I misheard, but didn't Brady endorse the removal of the Hayden Island interchange on Think Out Loud last week?

      And since we're arguing disclaimers, you didn't do "some non-profit work on the CRC," you are a paid consultant for the Coalition for a Livable Future, which opposes the CRC, right? (And at least based on a comparison to the CLF page, you are crafting their messaging.) No problem with that, of course, but in the interests of full disclosure.

      (Full disclosure, I don't work for nor have endorsed any of the candidates.)

      • (Show?)

        Thanks - I went and listened. Sounds like Brady didn't endorse removal of the Hayden Island interchange on Think Out Loud. To her credit, she did talk about scaling that part of the highway mega-project back, "close to nothin'":

        "I'm just a candidate for mayor, I'm not sitting at the state designing or redesigning this project... let's just look at the Hayden Island piece of this... it's almost 700 million dollars.... There's no question in my mind that we have to be able to skinny that down close to - close to - nothin' on that."

        There are all sorts of technical questions about if - and how - that would pencil out with a massive new ten-lane bridge, but I'm glad to hear a specific thought about skinnying.

        To clarify my disclaimer: I have done some non-profit work on the CRC issue while as an employee for OLCV and BTA, and some contract work for the non-profit CLF. I also volunteer with other community members who are working against the current version of the CRC, and volunteer with Bike Walk Vote PAC, which is opposed to the current version of the CRC mega-project.

        I speak only for myself.

    • (Show?)

      Evan, does your computer auto-complete "costly, risky CRC highway mega-project" since you type it that often? =P

      In all seriousness, what are your thoughts on the CSA (common sense alternative) proposed by George Crandall and others? It seemed like a smart option to me, but I have a limited understanding of the interests and concerns involved. How would that proposal compare with a "slimmed down" version of the CRC, one which focuses more on the bridge and less on freeway upgrades?

      Disclaimer: I worked on Eileen Brady's campaign last summer. I speak only for myself.

      • (Show?)

        Yeah, I type "desperately needed bridge that will solve all our problems while costing us nothing" and my computer auto-corrects to "costly, risky CRC highway mega-project." :)

        Though I have to say "CRC highway mega-project" encompasses a much higher percentage of the project's planned cost than "Columbia River Crossing," as well as much higher amount of the total project length.

        The Common Sense Alternative is intriguing. It's easily phased, much more affordable, much more committed to robust transportation choices and rail freight. It attracts more pots of money, it creates more routes, and more system redundancy, in river crossings.

        It's completely different from what I imagine people are thinking about in a "slimmed down" CRC, which prematurely replaces a bridge with 55 years of life in it, is more expensive, has a lot of highway expansion included in it, does nothing for freight rail, and sets us up for a Robert Moses situation of starting to build a huge highway thereby creating public demand to finish expanding it.

        Happy to talk more with you in a more on-thread conversation.

  • (Show?)

    Evan, what kind of details do you want from someone who won't take office until the decision is likely made? what other issues do you want her to weigh in on that she has no say in, and on which she's not even in the discussions about the possible alternatives? this is an issue where i disagree with her (i work for her campaign part-time) but for the past several months, her message on the CRC has been consistent. lacking specifics? yes. she should be putting out a plan, for example, what the Hayden Island interchange should be? whether Vancouver must accept tolling? etc?

    be realistic here: the more a politician describes the specifics of his/her policy actions (to be taken more than a year in the future), the more that politician is setting him/herself up for being called a liar & a failure. it's enough to know she supports replacement, wants light rail & better bike/ped, wants fewer lanes, and supports congestion tolling. if this project is exactly the same a year from now, then she should have specifics. but now? that's illogical.

    • (Show?)

      She certainly needs to be able to communicate better about it whatever she has in mind for it. Her interview on Speak Out Loud was a little embarrassing for her I think. She had to be corrected by the host when she spoke of it only being a one way issue and had a really hard time explaining what ides she had on tolls were? It almost appeared as if she didn't fully understand it herself. Seems a little under prepared if you ask me?

      So if you are suggesting that she has some solid ideas and is just keeping it close to her chest, well, I think that is a bad idea when it is likely the biggest voting issue we have.

  • (Show?)

    I'm glad I don't live in Portland. This race is already giving me a headache and it's only January.

  • (Show?)

    I like New Seasons markets and do shop there. But what's with a union endorsing a candidate whose business is not organized?

    • (Show?)

      Hmmm... It would seem that any objections must have been resolved...

      • (Show?)

        Hmmm... I wonder how Eileen Brady, who was so heavily involved in the beginning organization of a non-unionized company get a union to endorse her candidacy...

        Quite the mystery...

        • (Show?)

          Unless, god forbid, there are unions, union management, and union members who understand that the world of politics should not be union or non-union. In my view, unions bring workplace equity issues to the fore, both in practice and in advocacy. Arguably, New Seasons has some of the best employment practices and policies in the region. I would hope that everyone can hope that to be duplicated, with or without unions.

        • (Show?)

          Well, I am not aware that anyone has tried to organize New Seasons. On the other hand I doubt she will be getting a UFCW endorsement. But other building trades unions, based on CRC, quite possibly.

          What is the point of saying its a mystery? Are you trying to slander IBEW 48 somehow?

          I imagine that Charlie Hales may be getting some big development-oriented business support from companies with anti-union backgrounds. Will that make any union support he may get illegitimate? The whole political climate in our country is disgustingly against worker rights and leaves unions as well as rank & file grassroots workers less than ideal choices in many instances.

          While I don't agree with IBEW 48 on CRC and for the same reason don't support Brady, this seems to me to a perfectly explicable endorsement based on a weighing of real interests in which IBEW 48 is looking at a jobs crisis not of their making and putting need to respond to it above longer term and broader working class interests in a sustainable economic structure. Not mysterious at all.

  • (Show?)

connect with blueoregon